Tuesday, January 29, 2008
This week I watched Protagonist-- a documentary about a Martial Arts instructor, a German Terrorist, a Gay Evangelist and a Bank Robber. The stories they tell all touch on the male father-figures in their lives and how those men affected their development and 'career' choices and personal life choices.
This movie was pretty steller. There are some questionable transitional scenes with marionettes quoting Greek or Roman scriptures that could probably be removed.
I dont really think about the affect my dad has had on me so much anymore, but this reminded me that I'm still making poor decisions, especially with men, based upon certain fears he instilled in me through abuse.
I am consistently attracted to liars, cheaters and cowards who use negative reinforcement to communicate their emotions rather than talk straightforwardly. At least this flaw in my development and reasoning is recognizable, giving me hope that I won't ever hurt anyone as a result of being hurt (esp. my children) and will someday be able to halt before getting involved with negative male personalities.
I might need the strength of a dude, though.
I'll give it a shot anyway.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Monday, January 7, 2008
Happy New Year!
So Joe writes in to us and says:
"Hey all -
Below is a posting by Mr. Trent Reznor from nin.com about his experiment with the Radiohead-model of official free downloads concerning the Saul Williams album he produced. The statistics are very interesting indeed, yet really upsetting to see what music fans feel music is worth to them, and how it affects the artist. Give 'er a read.
It's a strange time to be an artist in the recording business. It's pretty easy to see what NOT to do these days, but less obvious to know what's right. As I find myself free from the bloated bureaucracy of major labels, finally able to do whatever I want... well, what is that? What is the "right" way to release records, treat your music and your audience with respect and attempt to make a living as well? I have a number of musician friends who are either in a similar situation or feel they soon will be, and it's a real source of anxiety and uncertainty.
I'd like to share my experience releasing Saul Williams' "The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust" and what I've learned from the process. Perhaps by revealing of all our data - our "dirty laundry" - we can contribute to a better solution.
A quick history: Saul makes a great record that I produce. We can't find the right home at a major label. We decide to release it ourselves, digitally. Saul does not have limitless financial resources so we shop around for a company that can fulfill our needs. We choose Musicane because they are competent and are willing to adapt to what we want. The results are here: niggytardust.com
We offer the entire record free (as in totally free to the visitor - we pay bandwidth costs) as 192 MP3s, or for $5 you can choose higher fidelity versions and feel good about supporting the artist directly. We offer all major CCs and PayPal as payment options.
Here's what I was thinking: Fans are interested in music as soon as it's available (that's a good thing, remember) and usually that's a leak from the label's manufacturing plants. Offering the record digitally as its first appearance in the marketplace eliminates that problem. I thought if you offered the whole record free at reasonable quality - no strings attached - and offered a hassle free way to show support that clearly goes straight to the artists who made it at an unquestionably low price people would "do the right thing". I know, I know...
Well, now I DO know and you will too.
Saul's previous record was released in 2004 and has sold 33,897 copies.
As of 1/2/08,
154,449 people chose to download Saul's new record.
28,322 of those people chose to pay $5 for it, meaning:
18.3% chose to pay.
Of those paying,
3220 chose 192kbps MP3
19,764 chose 320kbps MP3
5338 chose FLAC
Keep in mind not one cent was spent on marketing this record. The only marketing was Saul and myself talking as loudly as we could to anybody that would listen.
If 33,897 people went out and bought Saul's last record 3 years ago (when more people bought CDs) and over 150K - five times as many - sought out this new record, that's great - right?
I have to assume the people knowing about this project must either be primarily Saul or NIN fans, as there was very little media coverage outside our direct influence. If that assumption is correct - that most of the people that chose to download Saul's record came from his or my own fan-base - is it good news that less than one in five feel it was worth $5? I'm not sure what I was expecting but that percentage - primarily from fans - seems disheartening.
Add to that: we spent too much (correction, I spent too much) making the record utilizing an A-list team and studio, Musicane fees, an old publishing deal, sample clearance fees, paying to give the record away (bandwidth costs), and nobody's getting rich off this project.
Saul's music is in more peoples' iPods than ever before and people are interested in him. He'll be touring throughout the year and we will continue to get the word out however we can.
So - if you're an artist looking to utilize this method of distribution, make of these figures what you will and hopefully this info is enlightening.
and Ro says:
"it might make better sense to have the record dangle from a midget's ass and have a pornstar, bound and gagged, crawl after it down broadway. i mean, if all you want is some attention for your album.
regarding actually making some money on your record-- given the option, people are not going to pay for something if you're giving it away for free.
better they give 1 out of five purchasers free tickets to a fucking show that will get sold out in 2 seconds.
incentives are better for driving sales.
i'm not really a big fan of these free online releases.
i get it- it's the future- etc.. but i dont feel it accomplishes much more for the artist."
to which John says:
"yea...it's an interesting tactic, but it won't do much for the artist behind it other than maybe generate some buzz. music's worth a lot, but so's money when you don't make a lot of it.
one can have his cake and eat it too!"
to which Joe responds:
"I'm not a fan of digital releases, either, but it's a bit funny: back when everyone had no choice but to buy CDs, the common complaint was that, at $15 or more a pop, "CDs are too expensive." Absolutely. I remember many people saying that if albums were cheaper, they'd actually buy them more. So now, this album is $5, and that's still "too much" to pay for it.
But give someone the option of "free," and of course, why not? In any event, I just think this whole mess is really interesting. Artists have always made 99% of their money from touring, so there is always that. I guess I'm just bitter: I despise the fact that the days of the hi-fidelity album are almost over, and that soon we'll all be listening to poorly mastered, shitty mp3-esque files for our music. Fuck that."
Fuck that, indeed.
how much buzz did it really generate if you are not a Saul or NIN fan?
what say you?
AND BY THE WAY-- i just downloaded the soundtrack for a movie i haven't even seen and it's INCREDIBLE--- The Pacific and the Eddy soundtrack-- available here: Tripledownrecords.com
and i bought a tangible cd as well.